The Palestinian West Bank governorate of Tulkarem is located on fertile land about seven miles from the Mediterranean Sea and it is just west of Nablus.
Tulkarem Governorate | محافظة طولكرم
Situated between a coastal plain and a mountain, it has long been a place of trading and conquest.
Tulkarem’s name comes from from “Tur Karm,” which means the “Mountain of Vineyards.” Its economy is built on Palestinian agriculture – from citrus fruits to zataar. It is also the home of a vibrant commercial life, two soccer teams and the sole governmental university in Palestine. The population is 173,000.
In recent years, the town and surrounding area have lost land and water resources to Israeli settlements. Once famous for an abundance of water, Tulkarem now suffers from water shortages. Like the rest of the West Bank, farmers are forced to rely on pricey tankered water and rainwater collection cistern to irrigate their lands.
Over many decades Anera has helped Tulkarem families overcome challenges in an ever-shifting physical and political landscape through economic development.
Agriculture Work in Tulkarem
Anera’s wide range of agricultural activities in the Tulkarem area has improved many farming families’ incomes by increasing the productivity of their lands and livestock, improving access to water and reducing their production costs.
IRRIGATION AND WATER CONSERVATION
In the village of An Nazla ash Sharqiya, Anera built a 132,000-gallon reservoir to manage and control the flow of available water for agricultural purposes. Anera also enlarged the capacity of a rainwater collection pool, installed and connected pipelines and placed water meters on farms.
Throughout Palestine, Anera’s water and irrigation projects have helped farmers economize their water supply by introducing them to new crops and modern irrigation techniques, as well as enhancing traditional irrigation methods. In the village of Qaffin, for instance, Anera installed a modern drip-irrigation system and rehabilitated the village’s outdated water network.
In early 2018, Anera constructed six metal reservoirs on farms in Thinnabeh. Each reservoir has a capacity of 60,000 gallons. Farmers harvest rainwater from greenhouse rooftops during winter and they use it to irrigate vegetables grown in their greenhouses. They also use the reservoirs to store water from available ground water wells. Thinnabeh farmers now have enough water to irrigate their crops during periods of water scarcity in the hot summer.
In the early 1990s, the Tulkarem farming cooperative received capital money from Anera to begin its own credit program. The cooperative acted as a bank and lent money to its members. The loans in Tulkarem focused on establishing greenhouses that produced tomato and cucumber crops, especially in Deir al Ghusun and ‘Attil.
At each of the Thinnabeh and Baqa ash Sharqiya farming cooperatives, Anera built 7,000-square-foot greenhouses and installed vegetable packing facilities. Farmers were able to plant large quantities of high value crops like cherry tomatoes and bell peppers and they got further assistance from Anera in exporting their goods, management and accounting.
In the early 1990s, Anera helped cooperatives establish mini dairy projects for local consumption. We helped the Tulkarem farming cooperative to establish and equip a dairy. The cooperative collected milk from farmers at fair prices. Anera also assisted the cooperative in purchasing feeding bottles, automatic milking machines and honey separators. These projects helped farmers increase the productivity of livestock and ultimately improve their incomes. We delivered five dairy projects in the West Bank that pushed farmers to become producers and instilled healthy practices in dealing with milk-based products. The projects were in the Tulkarem, Bethlehem, Nablus, and Hebron governorates. Each factory’s milk capacity reached around 5,000 tons per day.
Water Infrastructure in Tulkarem
In the villages of ‘Anabta, Kur, Jarushiya, and ‘Attil, Anera built water and sanitation infrastructure to solve problems with water loss, contamination and shortages, caused by dilapidated networks.
In the small villages of ‘Anabta and Jarushiya, Anera replaced deteriorated pipelines with new steel pipes that extended further into the community and served more homes. In Kur, Anera established a new water network, as the village had entirely depended on rainwater collection cisterns and pricey tankered water for their daily needs. This 2013 project also included construction of a 53,000-gallon reservoir.
The town of ‘Attil was suffering from a severe water shortage caused by insufficient reservoir capacity and pipeline leakage. In 2015, Anera built a 264,000-gallon water reservoir, installed new pipelines to homes, and rehabilitated the existing water network for 'Attil's 11,000 residents.
Urban Development in Tulkarem
In the early 1990s, Anera assisted in the building of an industrial zone in the outskirts of ‘Anabta. The zone houses several units.
Anera also established a new wholesale market in Tulkarem in 2009. With 10,763 square feet of space and 18 stores, it has improved the business environment for all farmers, big and small. It also helps preserve the quality of produce through efficient handling and storing.
Parks for Tulkarem
The town of Zeita had a relatively new park, which they built in 2004, but it did not have a play area or playground equipment for children nor could it accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities. Anera recently renovated the park by constructing ramps, handrails, and installing playground equipment for children, including children with disabilities. We rehabilitated the existing cafeteria and toilets, adding new toilets for the disabled, as well as walkways and boundary walls. We also built an outdoor theater so the community can come together for performances. The park now provides an accessible, safe and comfortable recreational space for Zieta's 3,345 inhabitants.
Helping Tulkarem's Schools
The Dar Al-Yateem Orphanage Society in Tulkarem was among Anera’s scholarship program recipients. The 30-year program was established in 1979 and provided scholarships to deprived and needy students in Palestine and Lebanon through selected educational institutions like the orphanage.
After the scholarship program ended, Anera established an income-generation project at the orphanage in 2011, so the school could support itself. The project consisted of a chicken coop with 1,200 chickens that produced around 34 cartons of eggs per day, with 30 eggs per carton. The children of the orphanage all volunteer at the coop, an experience which Principal Ra’fat Qab believes to be educational, character-building and motivational.
In Kafr Sur, Ar Ras and Qaffin, in the early 2000s, Anera enhanced the learning environment in schools by building new or renovating existing classrooms and toilets and by improving the surrounding outdoor space. In 2004, Anera constructed an 1,830 square foot multipurpose hall in the village of Kafr Jammal that would serve as an educational and cultural center for women.
In 2015-2016, Anera constructed and furnished the three-floor Qaffin Basic Girls’ School, including 14 classrooms, a multipurpose hall, sanitation units, an administration office, a secretary’s office, two teacher rooms, and a counselor’s office. Anera also equipped the school with new computers, desks, chairs and tables. Outdoors, we installed a playground, shading, seating, water fountains, and a canteen. We also paved the road leading to the school to give students and staff safe and quick access to the school facilities. Before Anera's intervention, the girls studied in very crowded, damp conditions.
Contributing to Health Care in Tulkarem
In 2013, Anera renovated a two-floor clinic in northern Tulkarem, providing a healthier environment for patients and medical staff. In the village of Zeita, Anera built a brand new clinic to serve a community of 3,000 residents.
Anera partnered with ICF International to promote breast cancer awareness. Anera educated 12,000 women in the Tulkarem, Jerusalem, and Qalqilia districts about the importance of beast cancer prevention and screening. The project also improved the technical competence of 286 doctors and nurses, and three radiology technicians and trained 23 community-based organizations to promote breast cancer advocacy within their communities. Finally, the project developed a health education booklet about breast cancer prevention and screening and distributed 100,000 copies through the Ministry of Health and community clinics.
Anera distributes millions of dollars worth of medical aid for chronic conditions, hospital equipment, wheelchairs, over-the-counter drugs, and health care supplies that would not otherwise be available in the communities where they are needed the most. Our deliveries support hospitals, clinics, schools, and community centers struggling to meet the needs of underprivileged families. The Palestine Red Crescent Society has been a partner of Anera's in Tulkarem for many years.
Despite the many hardships in West Bank towns like Tulkarem, you can help improve the lives of Palestinian residents through economic development and long-term support. Give to Anera today.